Clarity Law

Specialist Criminal Law Firm Queensland
Tuesday, 23 April 2024 16:15

Bomb Hoax: The Law in Queensland

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bomb hoax queensland

In an era where public safety is paramount, the law takes a severe stance against actions that threaten communal well-being. Among these, the offence of making a bomb hoax is treated with particular severity. Under section 321A of the Queensland Criminal Code, the act of misleading others into believing that a dangerous or destructive substance is present, constitutes a serious crime.

This blog post aims to dissect the legal framework surrounding bomb hoaxes in Queensland, offering insights into its consequences and highlighting a pivotal case to underscore the judiciary's approach to such offences.

 

The Law

Section 321A of the Criminal Code articulates the offence of bomb hoaxes, outlining the necessary elements that constitute this crime. The law is clear: anyone who falsely claims or suggests that an explosive or harmful substance has been placed in a location within Queensland commits a criminal offence. The legislative intent is to deter individuals from inducing panic or fear through misinformation, a goal that aligns with broader societal aims of ensuring public safety and order.

The statute mandates a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for those found guilty of stating that a bomb exists while someone who sends or places an article or substance designed to make people think it is a bomb faces a maximum 7 years in prison.

 

Legal Requirements for Conviction

There are two separate charges under the act;

  • People who send or place a substance designed to look or act like a bomb (section 321A(1))
  • People who just say that a bomb is in a particular location (section 321A(2))

Lets look at each charge.

 

Sending or placing a fake bomb

The law states it is an offence nny person who—

(a) places an article or substance in any place; or

(b) sends an article or substance in any way;

with the intention of inducing in another person a belief that the article or substance is likely to explode, ignite, or discharge a dangerous or noxious substance, commits a crime.

The maximum penalty is 7 years in prison.

To be found guilty of the offence the prosecution would need to prove that:

  • The defendant placed or sent the article (or substance) in the place; and

  • The defendant intended to induce in another person a belief that the article (or substance) was likely to explode (or ignite or discharge a dangerous or noxious substance)

It is not necessary that the prosecution prove that some particular person was intended to be induced to the belief. It is sufficient that the defendant intended any other person or persons to be induced to that belief.

It is immaterial that the article (or substance) was not in fact likely to explode (or ignite or discharge a dangerous or noxious substance).

 

Saying there is a bomb

For a conviction under section 321A(2), the prosecution must satisfy three critical criteria beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The Act of Making a False Statement: It must be proven that the defendant intentionally conveyed false information or made a statement to another individual.

  1. Knowledge of Falsity: The individual accused of the hoax must have known, or believed, the information or statement to be false at the time of communication.

  1. Intent to Induce Belief in the Threat: There must be a clear intention behind the defendant's actions to make another person believe that an explosive, noxious substance, or other dangerous items are present in a place within Queensland.

It is noteworthy that the perpetrator's location during the commission of the offence is irrelevant under the statute, placing emphasis on the conveyed threat's impact rather than the defendant's physical presence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years imprisonment.

 

A Notable Case:

The case of R v Tobin [2008] QCA 54 involved an appeal against a sentence in the Supreme Court of Queensland - Court of Appeal. The appellant, Martin Francis Anthony Tobin, was convicted on his pleas of guilty to two counts of bomb threats. Initially, he was sentenced to six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for two years. However, the sentence was appealed on the grounds that it was manifestly excessive considering the circumstances, including significant mitigating factors and the fact that the bomb threat was not taken seriously.

The appeal was allowed, and the Court ordered that no conviction be recorded. Instead, Tobin was sentenced to probation for six months with conditions, including compliance with anger management and alcohol management as directed by an authorized Corrective Services Officer. 

 

Which Courts hears the charge?

While the matter starts in the Magistrates court it must be finalised in the District Court.

 

Are there any defences to a bomb hoax charge?

Possible defences include;

  • It was not the defendant who made the false statement about the bomb or planted the article pretending to be a bomb or the police cant prove it was

  • The defendant did not intend anyone to believe there was a bomb

  • Mistake of fact

 

Childrens Court

Children (those under 18 years old) are often charged with this offence especially when it involves a bomb hoax at a school.

Children are treated differently than adults and go through the children’s court and not the adult courts.

The charge is however treated very seriously by the children’s court.

 

Conclusion

If you are charged with making bomb hoax it is critical that you get legal advice BEFORE talking to the police.  Never ever talk to police without first getting legal advice.

A key component of the charge is the intention to make people believe a bomb exists and if you say the wrong thing to the police this may be easy to prove.

 

Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

Engaging us gives you the best chance at trying to avoid serving time in prison.   We are one of the leading criminal law firms in South East Queensland.  Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include:

  1. we know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome

  2. we have good relationships with the prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek an actual prison sentence

  3. we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible

  4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously

  5. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court

  6. unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

 

How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further free information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email the firms founder on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission or until we are legally allowed to.

Thursday, 18 April 2024 16:53

Urinating in a public place

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Urinating in a public place

It is unsurprisingly that it is an offence in Queensland to urinate in a public place, it is an offence that is broadly considered that interferes with the publics peaceful and lawful use of a public place.  It is gnerally considered to be a type of public nuisance offence.

The police can issue an infringent notice for this offence or summon a person to court to face a public urination charge.

There is considerable debate whether the charge of public urination should be removed.

 

What exactly does the law say about this offence?

Urinating in a public place is an offence under against section 7 of the Summary Offences Act 2005 under Queensland criminal law.

The law states that A person must not urinate in a public place.

  Maximum penalty—

  1. if the person urinates within licensed premises, or in the vicinity of licensed premises—4 penalty units; or
  2. otherwise—2 penalty units.
  3. In a proceeding for an offence against subsection (1), evidence that liquid was seen to be discharged from the vicinity of a person’s pelvic area is enough evidence that the person was urinating.
  4. In this section— public place does not include a facility in a public place that is designed for use as a toilet.

 

What do the Prosecution have to prove?

This is an offence which is extremely clear, and has quite basic fault elements.

The Police have to prove:

  1. The defendant;

  2. Urinated (or at least, liquid was observed to be seen being discharged from a person pelvic area); and

  3. That they did so in a public place, noting that this includes a place which is open to the public whether or not on payment of a fee.

 A person committs the offence if those elements can be proven.

 

What does this offence look like in practice?

It is quite plain, this offence usually eventuates in the vicinity of a licenced premises, for the obvious reasons.

This offence could eventuate when a person in a public park or hiking trail, unable to locate a toilet decides to urinate against a tree or bush.

 

What about my rear left tire?

There has persisted, a myth that in the absence of a publicly available toilet, that a person can urinate on the rear left tire of their vehicle. Let it be absolutely plain – this is a legal fiction, this law or exemption does not exist.

 

What is the likely outcome for this type of offence?

Section 7 of the Summary Offences Act outlines that this offence is only punishable by a fine. If the offence occurs within or in the vicinity of a licenced premises then 4 penalty units (at the date of publication being $619.20) otherwise 2 penalty units (at the date of publication being $309.60) – noting that penalty units increased each year on 1 July.

This matter, depending on the age, character and circumstances of the offender, could be dealt with by the imposition of a recognisance upon entering into a good behaviour bond.

 

What court will hear my matter?

This matter must be dealt with in the Magistrates Court jurisdiction where the offence occurred. It is possible, if necessary to have this matter transferred to a different jurisdiction, however it is not a guarantee that this will occur.

 

Are there any defences?

The simple answer is yes.  There are a number of defences that are available, including but not limited to:

  1. The alleged act was not in or near a public place;

  2. The defendant did not urinate;

  3. The defendant was in fact not the person whom is alleged to have committed the act (identification issue).

 It would not gnerally be a reasonable excuse to say you had no other options on where to urinate unless you had a medical condition.

 

Why should I choose you and not just represent myself?

Just some reasons include;

  1. we know the Magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome for a wilful exposure charge

  2. we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them agree to the sentence we are asking the court to impose

  3. we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in court

  4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously

  5. your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you

  6. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court

  7. unlike the police or the magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

Our experienced solicitors understand the sensitivity and potential embarrassment this charge may have on someone, any conversation had with our office is strictly confidential, with as few eyes on your file as necessary.

 

Conclusion
This article is by no means an exhaustive guide to this offence, but stands as a handy ready reckoner for someone looking for more information on or being charged with the offence. If you are charged with the offence, please contact our office for a free initial consultation.

 

How do I get more information or engage Clarity Law to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  • Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  • Book a time for us to call you

  • Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Deprivation of Liberty

In Queensland, 'Deprivation of Liberty' is a serious charge that encompasses unlawfully confining or detaining a person against their will. This offence is particularly sensitive because it infringes on the fundamental human right to freedom of movement. If you find yourself accused of this charge, it is crucial to understand what it entails legally and the consequences you may be facing.

 

The Origin of the Law

Deprivation of liberty offenses arise under various laws and statutes in Queensland, which are part of the larger framework of Australian criminal law that seeks to protect individuals from harm and protect their rights. This legal concept has evolved through case law, where past judgments have shaped the understanding and application of what amounts to deprivation of one's liberty.

 

The Law

Section 355 of the Criminal Code states that

355 Deprivation of liberty

Any person who unlawfully confines or detains another in any place against the other person’s will, or otherwise unlawfully deprives another of the other person’s personal liberty, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for 3 years

 

What does the Prosecution have to prove?

The prosecution must prove that:

1.      The defendant:

  • confined or detained another in any place against the other person’s will; or
  • otherwise deprived another of the other person’s personal liberty.

2.      The defendant did so unlawfully. That is, not authorised, justified or excused by law.

 

Definitions

Detain means keep in confinement or under restraint. Restraint can be exercised by threats. The defendant does not have to use force or physical restraints. If the defendant compels the person by threats to remain in a place against that person’s will, that is sufficient. Depriving of liberty simply means taking away the free choice of a person to move about as he or she wants.

Unlawfully Deprives includes the denial of enjoyment of something.

Personal Liberty is ‘the condition of being able to act in any desired way without restraint; power to do as one likes.’ Unlawfully deprives means taking away the free choice of a person to move about as he or she wants. A person may be deprived of their liberty not only against their will but also where the deprivation was achieved by fraud, done without knowledge or where the complainant lacks capacity.

 

Which Court hears the charge?

The matter is dealt with in the Magstrates court where the offence occurred.

 

Defences to the Charge

Every individual is entitled to a defence, and in the context of a deprivation of liberty charge, several defences may be applicable depending on the circumstances of the case. For example:

  • Consent: If the person alleged to be deprived of their liberty consented to the restrictions, this could be a viable defence.

  • Lawful Authority: Actions taken under lawful authority, such as those by police officers or under mental health laws, or parents lawfully dealing with their children may not constitute unlawful deprivation.

  • Mistake: A genuine mistake about the legal status or entitlement to confine another person may at times be a defence.

However, it's important to note that every case is unique and the success of such defences depends greatly on the specific facts of your case.

 

Penalties

The maximum penalty is 3 years in prison.

The penalty for deprivation of liberty depends on a number of factors including

  • The circumstances of why the offence occurred

  • What exactly happened

  • Was any violence threaten or used

  • The defendants criminal history

  • Whether the parties were in a domestic relationship

  • How long the offending lasted

  • Whether other charges like an assault charge or breach of a DVO is also bought.

While the maximum penalty would be rare In about 50% of cases before the courts a term of imprisonment is imposed but the court can in appropriate circumstances choose to suspended that or release a person on probation without them serving any actual time in prison.

If the offence involved people in a domestic relationship the police or the courts may issue a domestic violence order or vary an existing one.

 

Case Example of the charge of Deprivation of Liberty Charge Queensland

In R v East the defendant was found guilty of deprivation of liberty when he locked 2 federal police officers in his businesses reception when they were there trying to serve official documents.

In R v Adams the defendant pleaded guilty of deprivation of liberty after he entered a liquor store and locked the automatic door trapping two staff members inside until the police arrived.

 

What if a Police Officer wants to talk to me?

Never talk to the police without getting legal advice first. Its rare you can explain a situation away and even if you are innocent or have a defence you can make the situation worse by talking to the police.

Read more with our article: Police Questioning and your Right to Silence

 

Legal Representation Matters

If you are facing a charge for deprivation of liberty, the importance of seeking experienced legal representation cannot be overstated. Legal professionals specializing in criminal law, such as Clarity Law, possess the expertise necessary to provide valuable guidance and build a robust strategy, tailored to the specifics of your case.

For anyone charged with or accused of deprivation of liberty in Queensland, remember that this article serves merely to inform and should not be taken as legal advice. Every situation is unique and demands the personalized attention of a professional. If you require assistance or more information, it is recommended that you contact a legal practitioner who can provide specific guidance related to your case, what the law is, how the offence is dealt with in the Magistrates Court and whether you will have any defences to the offence or if negotiations with the prosecutor is possible.

For immediate assistance, you can reach out to Clarity Law at 1300 952 255 for support from a team of dedicated lawyers who pride themselves on ensuring that good people make it through tough times.

 

Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

Engaging us gives you the best chance at trying to avoid serving time in prison.   We are one of the leading criminal law firms in South East Queensland.  Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include:

  1. we know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome

  2. we have good relationships with the prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek an actual prison sentence

  3. we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible

  4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously

  5. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court

  6. unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

 

How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further free information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click hereto select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email the firms founder on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission or until we are legally allowed to.

Tuesday, 19 March 2024 16:55

Unlawful Drink Spiking

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Unlawful Drink Spiking

Unlawful drink spiking is a serious criminal offence in Queensland and occurs in circumstances where a person or persons, attempts to incapacitate, stupefy, or overpower another person by administering a substance to another person.

What does the law say?

  1. A person who administers, or attempts to administer, in drink a substance to another person (the "other person" ) without the other personhaving knowledge of the substance with intent to cause the other personto be stupefied or overpowered is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

  2. If the substance is alcohol, for section 24only, the circumstancesin which the other person is taken to have knowledge of the alcohol include where the other person would not object to the administration of the alcohol if the other person had actual knowledge of it.

  3. The following matters are immaterial—

    1. whether the lack of knowledge of the substance is lack of knowledge of the presence at all of the substance or of the particular quantity of the substance;

    2. whether the substance is capable of having the effect intended;

    3. whether a particular person is intended to be the person to whom the substance is administered or attempted to be administered.

  4. A reference to causing the other personto be stupefied or overpoweredis—

    1. a reference to causing the other personto be stupefied or overpoweredin circumstances where the other person is not intending to be stupefied or overpowered at all; or

    2. a reference to causing the other personto be further stupefied or overpoweredin circumstances where the other person is not intending to be further stupefied or overpowered at all or to the extent intended by the person who administers, or attempts to administer, the substance.

  5. This section does not apply to an act lawfully done in the course of the practice of a health professional, the carrying out of a function under an Act or the performance of the responsibilities of a parent or carer.

  6. In relation to an attempt to administer a substance, for this section and section 4, attempt includes adding a substanceto drink in preparation for the administration of the substance.

 

What does the prosecution need to prove?

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following, to succeed in a prosecution for this offence:

  1. The accused administered, or attempted to administer, in drink a substance to another;

  2. The other person had no knowledge of the substance; and

  3. With the intent to cause the other person to be stupefied or overpowered.

It is not necessary for the police to show that the defendant knew that the substance the defendant intended to use was able to affect the person, nor that the substance applied to the drink was in fact going to the intended person.

 

Are there any defences?

At law, there are a wide range of defences to criminal charges, however not every defence is available to every charge. Examination of available defences depends on the context of the alleged offending, some examples that may be available are:

  • Duress;

  • Identity;

  • Lawful authority to administer medication (such as by a health care professional in a medical setting, or a parent/carer);

  • Intention – Where the prosecution cannot prove the defendant intended to commit the offence; and

  • Honest and reasonable mistake of fact.

 

What court will hear my case?

This matter, like all criminal matters will start in the Magistrates Court of the jurisdiction where the offence occurred. This offence can be heard in the Magistrates Court on the defendants election, otherwise it will be committed and dealt with on  indictment in the District Court.

 

What does this charge look like?

Example 1: Donald is at a party with some of his university classmates and is having a good time. Donald recreationally takes MDMA and sees, Candance a girl he has a few classes with across the room. Donald decides Candace is uptight and needs to let loose. He offers to get her a drink, which she agrees to.  Donald places some MDMA into Candace’s drink and she drinks it. Candace experiences the associated high of MDMA and has an adverse reaction.  One of Donald’s friends told Candance’s friend Jane what he had done and Candance phones the police. Candace has a drug test administered and tests positive to MDMA. Police, after interviewing Donald’s friend and Candace, taking their statements make the decision to charge Donald with unlawful drink spiking. The police believe they can prove that Donald has administered MDMA in Candance’s drink, without her knowledge with the intent to cause that person to be overpowered by the substance.

Example 2: Joe is at a nightclub on Friday night, Joe believed he purchased GHB from a friend of a friend. Joe stands at the bar in the club and waits for a person who takes his interest to stand next to him. A woman next to Joe turns around to talk to a friend and leaves her drink momentarily unattended. Joe seeing his opportunity pours a small capsule of liquid into the woman’s drink.  Unbeknownst to him, the venue security was monitoring the CCTV and saw what occurred. They call the police and urgently stop the woman drinking the drink, and Joe from leaving.  The police are called, review the footage, and take Joe into custody and take the drink for testing. Joe gives an interview and makes admissions to police. Police test the drink and do not find any trace of the dangerous drug GHB or indeed any substance capable of stupefying. Police however still charge Joe as it is not necessary for Joe to have knowledge about the substance he attempted to administer.

The above are not an exhaustive list of ways this offence can arise. This offence can arise where a person gives alcohol to another person, when that person was choosing not to drink and was not aware they were being given alcohol. The court takes this offence very seriously, and often takes the view that it is an enabling offence to other very sinister offending.

 

Do I need a lawyer?

Do not attempt to represent yourself in the court on an unlawful drink spiking charge.  Based on the seriousness of the offending, including if other associated offences are charge, engaging an experienced criminal lawyer will help you get the best available outcome.  If the court records a conviction against you, it may affect your ability to travel internationally and to gain employment.

 

Conclusion

This article is by no means a complete breakdown of the serious offence of unlawful drink spiking. This article serves to give a person an understanding of the offence, illustrating how it may come about. This is not a matter where you should attempt to undertake it yourself. If you require advice about this type of matter, feel free to contact clarity law for an obligation free consultation.

 

Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

Engaging us gives you the best chance at trying to avoid serving time in prison.   We are one of the leading criminal law firms in South East Queensland.  Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include:

  1. we know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome

  2. we have good relationships with the prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek an actual prison sentence

  3. we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible

  4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously

  5. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court

  6. unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

 

How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further free information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click hereto select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email the firms founder on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission or until we are legally allowed to.

 

 When can police ask for my name and address

Queensland Police can, unsurprisingly, exercise a wide variety of quite coercive powers. We all know police can arrest and detain people, seize evidence related to crime, and compel people to provide information. These powers are all necessary so police can carry out their important function of investigating unlawful conduct and charging suspects.

What people may not know is police power is not unlimited, and there are important safeguards in place to ensure police know the limits of their powers and do not exceed them.

A police officer may require you to state your correct name and address in prescribed circumstances.

The police officer may also require you to give evidence of the correctness of the stated name and address if it would be reasonable to expect you to be in possession of evidence of the correctness of your name or address or to otherwise be able to give that evidence.

 

So when can police ask for my name and address?

The prescribed circumstances in which police can require you to state your name and address in Queensland are as follows—

  • a police officer finds you committing an offence;

  • a police officer reasonably suspects you have committed an offence;

  • a police officer is about to take—

o   your fingerprints; or

o   a DNA sample from you;

  • a police officer is attempting to enforce a warrant, forensic procedure order or serve on you—

o   a forensic procedure order; or

o   a summons; or

o   another court document;

  • a police officer reasonably suspects you have been or are about to be involved in domestic violence or associated domestic violence;

  • a police officer reasonably suspects you may be able to help in the investigation of—

o   a domestic violence or associated domestic violence; or

o   a relevant vehicle incident;

  • a police officer reasonably suspects you may be able to help in the investigation of an alleged indictable offence because you were near the place where the alleged offence happened before, when, or soon after it happened;

  • you are in control of a vehicle that is stationary on a road or has been stopped;

  • a police officer is about to give, is giving, or has given you a police banning notice;

  • a police officer is about to give, is giving, or has given you—

o   a public safety order;

o   a restricted premises order;

o   a fortification removal order;

  • a police officer reasonably suspects you have consorted, are consorting, or likely to consort with 1 or more recognised offenders.

 

If a police officer is speaking to you and you do not know or understand why, you are entitled to ask the officer the reason for speaking to you and if the officer is requesting your name and address, you may ask the reason for that, too. But, if you are given an answer other than “because I said so” it is best to comply, as you can be charged with an offence of contravening a direction or requirement of a police officer. It is a fine only offence.

You are entitled to ask a police officer to provide his or her name, rank and identification number. You may ask a police officer to record an interaction the officer is having with you, or you may wish to record the interaction yourself.

If police ask you questions which you believe are in connection with an offence in which you are a suspect, you have a right to refuse to answer those questions and seek legal advice.

 

Conclusion

As can be seen, there are a wide variety of circumstances where police may ask you your name and address, but it is important police explain why such details are required. There all sorts of reasons why police interact with the public, and the taking of your details will generally go no further than taking a note in a notebook. If you are subsequently charged, it is strongly recommended you contact a lawyer, and you should certainly contact a lawyer before any proposed interview.

Thursday, 15 February 2024 18:54

Attempting to pervert the course of justice

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Attempting to pervert the course of justice

Attempting to pervert the course of justice is a serious criminal charge in Queensland that occurs in circumstances where a person attempts to stop justice being served on themselves or even another person by their conduct.

What does the law say?

Section 140 of the Criminal Code 1899 states that:

(1)   A person who attempts to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty—7 years imprisonment.

 

What do the prosecution need to prove for this offence?

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following, in order to succeed in a prosecution for this offence:

  1. The defendant;

  2. Through their actions or conduct did something that has a real risk of justice being perverted or an injustice occurring; and

  3. The defendant intended for the outcome of their actions to have the effect of stopping justice being done.

It is important to note, that the defendants conduct does not need to be successful in perverting justice, just that their actions had a real risk of that occurring.

 

Are there any defences?

At law, there are a wide range of defences to criminal charges, however not every defence is available to every charge. Examination of available defences depends on the context of the alleged offending, some examples that may be available are:

  • Duress;

  • Identity;

  • Intention – Where the prosecution cannot prove the defendant intended to pervert the course of justice; and

  • Honest and reasonable mistake of fact.

 

What court will hear my case?

This matter, like all criminal matters will start in the Magistrates Court of the jurisdiction where the offence occurred. This offence however, must be committed (see our article on committal process here), to the District Court of Queensland.

 

What does this charge look like?

Perverting the course of justice is a very broad charge, and ultimately could come in many different forms. Below are a few examples of how this charge may come about:

Example 1

Jill is in being held on remand, awaiting trial in the Supreme Court for a series of domestic violence matters against her partner Jack. Jill, struggling to deal with being inside the correctional facility reaches out to her sister – who can still contact Jack – to ask her to have Jack recant his statement of events to try and have the charges dropped. Jills’ sister refuses do as Jill has asked, and tells Jill that she wont do it.

Jills phone call is monitored and recorded, and subsequently sent to police who make the decision to charge her with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

In the event that Jane contacts Jack to tell him how much Jill is struggling, how sorry she is and how much she needs to get out. Jack calls the police and reports that his has occurred.

The police now have grounds to charge Jane with an offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

 

Example 2

Ryan is caught by police with cannabis on his person. Ryan is arrested, given watchhouse bail and a notice to appear date. Ryan decides to go make a script for cannabis and enters negotiations with police, however it is discovered that he his script is a forgery and he is subsequently charged with a fraud offence, and an attempt to pervert the course of justice offence.

The above are not the exhaustive list of ways this offence can arise. All to commonly this offence arises out of circumstances where an offender tries to have a victim change or withdraw their statement and inevitably are caught then charged with a very serious offence.

 

Usual Penalties

Given that this is a strictly indictable offence (meaning it must be heard before a Judge of the District Court), this offence carries some very severe maximum penalties, depending on circumstances of aggravation.

A review of the sentencing statistics between 2005 and 2018 show that approximately 52% of offenders in Queensland received a term of actual imprisonment. However, this does not factor the difference between the more serious circumstances of the offending. Community Based Orders and suspended sentences are available options. (Russell Tannock of our office has written a comprehensive article on how periods of imprisonment may be served here).

 

Do I need a lawyer?

Do not attempt to represent yourself in the court on an attempting to pervert the course of justice charge.  Even if you are charged with an offence without a circumstance of aggravation it is not advisable to undertake this matter yourself. Based on the seriousness of the offending, including if violence was used then the risk of imprisonment arises, engaging an experienced criminal lawyer will help you get the best available outcome.  If the court records a conviction against you it may affect your ability to travel internationally and to gain employment.

 

Conclusion

This article, is by no means a complete breakdown of the serious offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice. This article serves to give a person an understanding of the offence, illustrating how it may come about. This is not a matter where you should attempt to undertake it yourself. If you require advice about this type of matter, feel free to contact clarity law for an obligation free consultation.

 

Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

Engaging us gives you the best chance at trying to avoid serving time in prison.   We are one of the leading criminal law firms in South East Queensland.  Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include;

1.      we know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome

2.      we have good relationships with the prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek an actual prison sentence

3.      we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible

4.      engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously

5.      you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court

6.      unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

 

How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further free information or advice then you can either;

1.      Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

2.      Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

3.      Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

4.      Email the firms founder on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5.      Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

6.      Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission or until we are legally allowed to.

Wednesday, 31 January 2024 17:46

What to wear in Court | Queensland Guide 2014

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What to wear to Court

Facing a criminal charge in Queensland can be a daunting experience, but presenting yourself in court with appropriate attire can help convey respect for the legal process and possibly influence the perception of the judge and jury. While there's no strict dress code outlined in Queensland law, dressing conservatively and professionally is generally advisable. Here's a comprehensive guide on what to wear to court when you're facing a criminal charge in Queensland.

 

Understanding the Importance of Dressing Appropriately

First impressions matter, especially in a courtroom setting where judgments can be swift and influenced by various factors. Knowing what to wear to court can potentially impact how you're perceived by the judge, jury, and other courtroom personnel. Dressing appropriately demonstrates respect for the legal proceedings and can reflect positively on your character and attitude towards the charges you're facing.

 

General Guidelines for Courtroom Attire

When selecting your attire for a court appearance, it's crucial to opt for clothing that is conservative, neat, professional but comfortable. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  1. Business Attire: Aim for clothing typically worn in professional settings, such, dress shirts, and trousers/skirts. Solid colours or subtle patterns are preferable over flashy or loud designs.       You don’t necessarily need to wea a suit but if you are comfortable in a suit that would be the most appropriate thing to wear. Aim to wear no less than what you would wear to a job interview.

  2. Neat and Clean: Ensure your clothing is clean, ironed, and free of wrinkles or stains. Pay attention to small details like loose threads or missing buttons, as they can detract from your overall presentation.

  3. Comfortable Yet Respectful: While comfort is important, avoid overly casual clothing like t-shirts, jeans, shorts, or sneakers. Opt for closed-toe shoes and avoid excessive jewellery or accessories.

  4. Cover Tattoos and Piercings: If you have visible tattoos or piercings, consider covering them if possible, as they may distract or prejudice certain individuals in the courtroom.

  5. Hair and Personal Grooming: Maintain a well-groomed appearance with neatly trimmed hair and facial hair. Avoid extreme hairstyles or colours that may be deemed inappropriate for a formal setting.

  6. Minimal Fragrance: Refrain from wearing strong perfumes or colognes, as they can be distracting or trigger allergies for others in the courtroom.

 

Specific Considerations for Defendants

As a defendant facing criminal charges, your attire should convey sincerity, humility, and respect for the judicial process. The courts are conservative places.  Here are additional tips tailored specifically for defendants:

  1. Avoid Clothing Associated with Crime: Steer clear of attire commonly associated with stereotypes or criminal imagery, such as hoodies, baggy pants, or clothing with offensive slogans or graphics.

  2. Blend In, Don't Stand Out: Aim to blend in with the general demeanour of the courtroom rather than drawing undue attention to yourself through your clothing choices. The focus should be on your case, not your attire.

  3. Shirts Should have Collars: But surf wear, even with collars is never acceptable.

  4. Flip Flops are a Major NO NO: Anything that you would wear to the beach should never be worn in court.  This means no hats or sunglasses.

  5. Consult with your Lawyer: If unsure about what to wear, consult with your lawyer for guidance. They can provide valuable insights based on their knowledge of courtroom etiquette and the specific circumstances of your case.

Remember lots of defendants will not dress appropriately. Aim to be one that does and show you are taking your charges seriously, the Judges and Magistrates appreciate the effort you would have put in to dress appropriately for court.  Avoid being this person.

 

Conclusion

In Queensland, as in other jurisdictions in Australia, dressing appropriately for court is an essential aspect of presenting yourself in the best possible light during legal proceedings. By adhering to the principles of professionalism, conservatism, and respect, defendants can enhance their credibility and demonstrate their commitment to the judicial process. While clothing alone won't determine the outcome of your case, it can contribute to a favourable impression and convey a sense of responsibility and seriousness regarding the charges you're facing.

 

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